Friday, August 17, 2007

Al Rajhi Bank to woo Arabs to buy homes in Malaysia

by David Tan from The Malaysia Star

Al Rajhi Bank's CEO Ahmed Rehman said the bank was confident of playing a role in attracting more Arabs to purchase properties in Malaysia. “We have 400 branches in Saudi Arabia serving over three million customers, from which I’m sure a percentage would be interested in owning a home in Malaysia,” he said .after the launch of Al Rajhi's first branch in Penang by Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. Ahmed said the bank had developed new Islamic financial products with a Middle Eastern flavour for the retail and wholesale market in the country. “We are also embarking on designing made-in-Malaysia Islamic banking products and services that will contribute to Malaysia’s reputation as a trailblazer in Islamic banking,” he said.

Government given a week’s time to produce Sharif “deal” papers

by Nirupama Subramanian from The Hindu

The Supreme Court has given the Pakistan Government a week’s time to come up with “documents” it says it has to show that the former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, left the country in 2000 on a written agreement with the Musharraf regime. Mr. Sharif has denied that he did a deal with President Pervez Musharraf to go into exile for 10 years ... The hearing was adjourned until August 23 when the Government must produce the document. The former Prime Minister and his family went to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan. President Musharraf has said publicly he agreed to end Mr. Sharif’s imprisonment on the intervention of the Saudi royal family, and that under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Sharif was not to re-enter politics or Pakistan for 10 years.

For God’s sake, let those Koreans go

by Hassan Al-Haifi from the Yemen Times

The current methodology employed by self declared Jihadists, has no precedence in the actions of many generations of Moslems since the time of the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who, as the Holy\Quran states "was sent as a mercy for all the Universes". In this context then, it would be viewed as being self-defeating, if improprieties such as the kidnapping of the 22 Korean hostages would be construed as being in service to their declared cause of liberating Afghanistan, not to mention such an act being totally incongruent with Moslem teachings ... For sure, the overwhelming majority of Moslems find no rationale in Islam or any other dogma for the kidnapping of foreign hostages, even if they are of a different faith, and would hope that the Taliban and all these so called Salafi persuasions would go back to studying Islam it its true and fundamental teachings and learn from the ways that the true faithful Salaf (i.e., early Moslem predecessors) truly conducted themselves in war and in peace, if they want to convince the world if their genuine affiliation with Islam, and of the justice of their struggle.

Self-made terrorists

by Sally Neighbour from The Australian

The intelligence division of the New York Police Department has traced the formation and development of Islamist terror cells in the US, Britain, Canada, Spain, The Netherlands and Australia. Their report, Radicalisation in the West: The Homegrown Threat, is the most comprehensive cross-national study of how terror cells form, develop, plan and execute large-scale attacks. The report's authors, Mitchell Silber and Arvin Bhatt, identify four stages in the process of radicalisation. The first is the "pre-radicalisation" phase, where an individual is often frustrated with his life or the politics of his home government and is looking for meaning in life ... The second stage is "self-identification", where the individual discovers Salafi-jihadist ideology, a Sunni revivalist movement which aims to create a "pure" Islamic society based on a literal reading of the Koran. Under this interpretation, complex disputes such as the Arab-Israeli conflict and Kashmir are simplified into a single global war between "believers and non-believers". "This powerful and simple 'one size fits all' philosophy resonates with the younger diaspora Muslim populations in the West who are often politically naive," Silber and Bhattwrite.

On the Cusp

by Sumit Ganguly from Newsweek

The particular features of the present Iranian regime aside, India needs to court Iran to counter the Pakistani-Saudi strategic nexus and their mutual coziness with Wahhabi Islamic zealots. Their closeness to the Wahhabi cult causes acute concern in New Delhi because India is also home to the second-largest Sunni population in the world, the vast majority of whom have not evinced any interest in the siren call of radical Islam. These strategic concerns alone make it imperative for India not to alienate any regime in Iran, however unpalatable ... India is hardly alone in pursuing a policy of such ruthless pragmatism. The United States, we should remember, chose to court the reprehensible (and murderous) regime of Chairman Mao in its attempt to contain and hobble the menace of Soviet power. More recently, it has had few, if any qualms of pursuing a robust commercial and military relationship with Saudi Arabia, a regime whose domestic arrangements can hardly be viewed as conforming with cherished American values. Nor has Saudi Arabia's mostly intransigent attitude toward Israel, a key American ally, significantly inhibited the U.S.-Saudi nexus.

Out of sight, out of mind

by Lucy Fielder from Al-Ahram Weekly

Fatah Al-Islam's origins and funding remain subject to speculation, and some say Lebanon's most powerful Sunni leader, Saad Hariri, funded the group with his Saudi backers, despite the earlier link with Syria. Some contend he has quietly armed Sunni elements to counterbalance the powerful Shia Hizbullah. Teacher Iman Al-Sheikh believes Saudi money has poured into Salafi institutions in Tebbaneh, Tripoli's most densely populated area where rubbish clogs the streets for want of public services and laundry and black Islamic flags flutter from balconies. She recently taught at a Saudi-funded Tripoli school, but left when she found its ideology ill-informed and extreme. Even science and maths were only taught according to what is found in the Quran, she says. Al-Sheikh wears the hijab, but objected to Christian colleagues having to. "In the past year or two there have been a lot of mosques, schools and centres set up in the north to teach people Salafi thought, which is basically Wahhabi thinking," says Ahmed Moussalli, an expert on radical Islam at the American University of Beirut. Most Islamists in northern Lebanon are peaceful, he stresses. "But some of them have been mobilised against the Shia. We do not know the numbers but I'm sure there are many more than we're seeing."